Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the widely respected and relied-upon political prognostication machine run from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, has upgraded Sen. Mary Landrieu’s chances of holding onto her seat in next year’s election, shifting the race from “Toss Up” to “Likely Democratic” in its analysis released Wednesday. The upgrade for Landrieu is in part attributable to the anemic campaign and resulting lackluster fundraising by her top Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge. But, as Sabato et al point out, the recent federal shutdown has hurt the GOP (and helped Democrats) across the political spectrum:

We’ll save our Republican friends a recitation of all the damage they did to themselves during the recent battle over the government shutdown and the debt limit. Anyone who can read a poll knows what happened.

The shutdown kerfuffle has led to a significant improvement in the national political climate for Democrats. The House generic ballot, a national poll that measures whether those surveyed prefer a Democratic or Republican candidate in their local U.S. House race, was generally close over the summer, which was great news for Republicans: According to the Crystal Ball’s Alan Abramowitz, these generic ballot surveys will have to show a double-digit lead for the Democrats around Labor Day next year for them to get within striking distance of picking up the House. But since the shutdown, Democrats are getting closer to the kind of numbers that would put the House in play.

Similarly, the Crystal Ball upgraded Democratic North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan’s odds of holding onto her seat, and in Georgia downgraded from “Likely Republican” to “Leans Republican” the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Read more here.

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